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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Completing the Picture: Financial Capability Analysis

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, August 31, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Over half of Idaho cities provide waste/reclaimed water treatment facilities, while 78% provide drinking water.  Additionally, over 99% of Idaho cities are tasked with drainage and stormwater management for impervious surfaces including streets, parking lots, and buildings.  These varied responsibilities require Idaho cities to play important roles as the primary funders of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.  

Most, if not all, Idaho cities face complex water quantity and quality issues that are heightened by  issues such as population growth or decline, source water supply and quality, challenging regulations, and aging infrastructure.   To address these complex issues, Idaho cities make significant investments in waste/reclaimed water, drinking water, and drainage infrastructure.  These capital projects can rehabilitate existing systems, improve operation and maintenance, or be implemented to address emerging regulatory requirements.  

Given these issues, it is not surprising that Idaho cities and their utility customers frequently find themselves facing difficult economic challenges with limited financial capabilities.  Guidance issued by the EPA in 2014  recognizes these issues and seeks to address these financial capability challenges by identifying ways the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and States can develop and implement new approaches.  For Idaho cities these new approaches are critical to achieving water quality goals at lower costs and in ways that address the most pressing problems first.

The 2014 EPA guidance recognizes that long-term approaches to meeting Clean Water Act objectives should be sustainable and within a local government or authority’s financial capability; and that financial capability includes Safe Drinking Water Act obligations as well. In short, EPA recognized that the financial capabilities of Idaho cities are important to consider when EPA or the State develop schedules for infrastructure project requirements in permits or enforcement actions to help protect human health and the environment.   This process for evaluating parameters that measure an Idaho city’s financial capability builds upon EPA guidance initially published in 1997. A two-phase approach is applied. The first phase identifies the financial impact of costs (i.e., utility rates) on residential households as a percentage of local median household income (MHI).  The value for this indicator characterizes whether the costs impose a “low,” “medium,” or “high” financial impact on residential users. 


Residential Financial Capability Indicators

Financial Impact




Residential Indicator (% of MHI)

< 1.0%

1.0 - 2.0%

> 2.0%


The second phase identifies six factors used to evaluate debt, socioeconomic, and financial conditions that affect a city’s financial capability.  These indicators characterize a city’s financial capability as “strong,” “mid-range,” or “weak.”


City Financial Capability Indicators

Debt Indicators




1. Bond Ratings



BB, B, CCC, CC, C, D

2. Overall Net Debt as % of Full Market Property Value

< 2%

2 - 5%

> 5%


Socioeconomic Indicators




3. Unemployment Rate

1% < National Average (NA)

+/- 1% NA

1% > NA

4. Median Household Income (MHI)

25% > Adjusted National (AN) MHI

+/- 25% AN MHI

25% < AN MHI


Financial Management Indicators




5. Property Tax Revenue Collection Rate

> 98%

94 - 98%

< 94%

6. Property Tax Revenues as % of Full Market Property Value

> 2%

2 - 4%

> 4%


AIC believes it is a good idea for Idaho cities to develop or update a "financial capability analysis" periodically and submit their finding to the permitting authority as they re-apply for wastewater discharge permits.  A financial capability analysis is an important tool as Idaho cities protect the environment, incorporate affordable water quality improvements, and coordinate with the drinking water program to provide universal access to water, waste/reclaimed water, and drainage/stormwater services in support of economic development in Idaho. 

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Idaho Water Supply Forecast Resources

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Thursday, August 24, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The "Idaho Snowmageddon" of 2017 is firmly in our rear view mirror as our Idaho summer draws to a close.  But that does not diminish our curiosity about what may be in store for us during the year ahead!  To help us get ready for the "New (water) Year" (October 1st), here is a list of water supply forecast resources from our various state and federal partners.  May they prove to be helpful and informative to you during the dark winter months ahead!


Idaho Department of Water Resources - Water Data

Idaho water data is provided through the combined efforts of state and federal governmental agencies involved in water management in Idaho. Each agency brings a different technical aspect and expertise in order to provide the most extensive water supply outlook available.



Northwest River Forecast Center (NWRFC)

The NWRFC is one of 13 National Weather Service hydrologic centers in the United States, specialzing in flood and water resource forecasting, river modeling, and hydrologic system development. It works with water management agencies to provide the best possible operations of the Columbia reservoir systems. It's mission is to save lives and decrease property damage by the issuance of flood warnings and river stage forecasts; provide basic hydrologic forecast information for the Nation's economic and environmental well being; and to provide extended forecast information for water resources management. Flood forecasts and warnings are disseminated to the public through Weather Forecast Offices. Forecast distribution is made using the NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, television, and local emergency agencies. 



National Weather Service: Snow Analysis

The National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center provides comprehensive snow observations, analyses, data sets and map products for the Nation.



National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center

The Climate Prediction Center's (CPC) products are operational predictions of climate variability, real-time monitoring of climate and the required data bases, and assessments of the origins of major climate anomalies. The products cover time scales from a week to seasons, extending into the future as far as technically feasible, and cover the land, the ocean, and the atmosphere, extending into the stratosphere.



National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS): Idaho Snow Survey

The NRCS Snow Survey Program provides mountain snowpack data and streamflow forecasts for the western United States. Common applications of snow survey products include water supply management, flood control, climate modeling, recreation, and conservation planning.



Bureau of Reclamation Hydromet System (a.k.a. "teacup" diagrams)

The Hydromet System (Hydromet) is a data collection and distribution system that supports the Bureau of Reclamation's mission of water resource management. Hydromet data collection supports reservoir and water project operations, water management, and water supply forecasting for Reclamation's multipurpose reservoir systems in the Columbia and Snake River basins. Water uses supported by the Hydromet include flood control, irrigation, power generation, water quality, water conservation, fish and wildlife management, research, and recreation. The Hydromet database provides an excellent source of information for water management planning activities. Reclamation operates several Hydromet systems, including one in Yakima, Washington once known as the Yakima Remote Control System (YRCS).

Boise & Payette:

Lewiston Orchards:

Snake River:


Northwest Climate Toolbox

The Toolbox transforms raw climatological, meteorological, and hydrological information into a series of easy-to-navigate tools that allow users to plug in their location on a map and visualize data for that location. Tools in the Toolbox include visualizations of historical data (going back decades); short-term, seasonal forecasts (on the order of months); and long-term, future projections (on the order of decades to the year 2100). Still more tools track wildfire danger and track how plant growing zones are expected to shift as the climate warms.  Designed with farmers  and water managers in mind, the Toolbox is intended to help the Pacific Northwest respond to and prepare for potentially costly impacts to its agriculture and natural resources both today and under future climate change.  The Toolbox is a joint effort between CIRC, the Northwest Knowledge Network, USDA Northwest Climate Hub, and US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Link: or


Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR): Idaho

EPSCoR partners with states that have historically received smaller amounts of federal research and development funds to enhance science and engineering research, education, and technological capabilities. Idaho EPSCoR provides support for sustainable increases in Research and Development capacity and advances science and engineering capabilities within the state.



US Drought Monitor: Idaho

The U.S. Drought Monitor, established in 1999, is a weekly map of drought conditions that is produced jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The U.S. Drought Monitor website is hosted and maintained by the NDMC. 



NOAA Evaporative Drought Demand Index

The EDDI maps display atmospheric evaporative demand for 1 to 12 weeks and 1 to 12 months prior to the most current date. 



Agriculture Climate Network

The AgClimate Network is a web-based hub for data, analysis and communication between regional scientists and stakeholders about climate change and agricultural and natural resources topics. A consortium of institutions including Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and Washington State University, and individuals contribute content to this site and share articles and analyses. 



USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station

Effects of drought on forests and rangelands in the United States: a comprehensive science synthesis

This assessment provides input to the reauthorized National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and the National Climate Assessment (NCA), and it establishes the scientific foundation needed to manage for drought resilience and adaptation. Focal areas include drought characterization; drought impacts on forest processes and disturbances such as insect outbreaks and wildfire; and consequences for forest and rangeland values. Management actions can either mitigate or exacerbate the effects of drought. A first principal for increasing resilience and adaptation is to avoid management actions that exacerbate the effects of current or future drought. Options to mitigate drought include altering structural or functional components of vegetation, minimizing drought-mediated disturbance such as wildfire or insect outbreaks, and managing for reliable flow of water.


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Idaho Copper Criteria for Aquatic Life

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Idaho initiated rulemaking to update the Copper criteria for aquatic life in 2015.  The use of the biotic ligand model (BLM), with ten water and effluent parameters instead of hardness alone, will provide a more accurate estimate of the actual criteria.  AIC does not anticipate that the copper BLM will trigger limits for most facilities.   However, cities with major waste/reclaimed water facilities (i.e., those that discharge 5 or more million gallons per day) or with industrial dischargers should consider the collection of these additional data.

August 2017 Implementation Guidance for the Idaho Copper Criteria for Aquatic Life states that 24 monthly data points over the course of a year will provide appropriate data for a given site (see pg. 20).  The BLM calculates what the water quality criteria (WQC) would be on that specific day, under those specific conditions.  So, if a city collected 24 monthly samples, the BLM would calculate the WQC 24 times.  

BLM data collected in receiving waters downstream of point source discharges will provide the basis for applicable BLM criteria.  AIC supports this approach because it will provide the best science-based local dataset that will be representative of BLM constituents in both the receiving water and the effluent after mixing.  Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and pH are key parameters used in the development of the BLM.  
The negotiated rulemaking concluded in July 2017.  Materials from the rulemaking can be accessed through this link: 


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Emergency Relief Fund Update from Idaho Office of Emergency Management

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, August 4, 2017

There have been many questions from applicants regarding status of Emergency Relief Funds (ERF).  The following is a brief overview of where we are at and what you can expect going forward. 
The process to fund projects can be longer than expected because of the potential for many projects to be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funding.  It is important that state ERF funds not be used on projects where federal funding is available.
To review, ERF funding is awarded on a conditional basis pending review of FEMA and FHWA eligible projects. We have identified those projects that are eligible for funding through FEMA or FHWA at the surface level, and are now working to identify which projects have been approved. Unfortunately, we are unable to release ERF funds until a final determination has been made. Once determined, projects will be awarded as follows: 

Ineligible for FEMA or FHWA – 90% funded by ERF, 10% match by jurisdiction

FEMA approved – 75% funded by FEMA, 15% funded by ERF, 10% match by jurisdiction

FHWA approved – generally 100% funded by FHWA
Those projects currently identified as not eligible for FEMA or FHWA will be getting ERF Project Agreements and Worksheets within the next week. We are working with LHTAC and have requested a list of approved/denied projects from FHWA. Once we have that information we can continue to finalize eligible ERF projects.
Projects that have been obligated funds from FEMA will be receiving letters with next step information in the next 1-2 weeks. If you have received a denial letter from either FEMA or FHWA, please forward that to us so that we can get started on your project. 
Please feel free to contact me with any other questions or concerns.
Best Regards,

Jesse-Kay Cole 
Administrative Specialist
Idaho Office of Emergency Management
(208) 258-6591 Office
(208) 859-5501 Cell


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Supreme Court Ruling on Grocery Tax Repeal Means Status Quo for Now

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, July 28, 2017

In a ruling last week, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s veto of a bill repealing the sales tax on groceries.  This means that the status quo prevailed and the sales tax on groceries will continue for the immediate future.

The case was brought by a group of 30 legislators who sued Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney to challenge the Governor’s veto of House Bill 67, passed by the 2017 Idaho Legislature.  The lawmakers argued that the Governor’s veto should be struck down because he did not return the vetoed bill to the Secretary of State within ten days (excluding Sundays) after the Legislature adjourned.

Article IV, Section 10 of the Idaho Constitution provides:

“Every bill passed by the legislature shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the governor. If he approve, he shall sign it, and thereupon it shall become a law; but if he do not approve, he shall return it with his objections to the house in which it originated…  …Any bill which shall not be returned by the governor to the legislature within five days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, shall become a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the legislature shall, by adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall be filed, with his objections, in the office of the secretary of state within ten days after such adjournment (Sundays excepted) or become a law.”

The Idaho Supreme Court interpreted this constitutional provision in Cenarrusa v. Andrus in 1978, holding that after the Legislature has adjourned, the Governor has 10 days from the time the bill is presented to him to act, not 10 days from the end of the legislative session.  The 3-2 ruling in Cenarrusa went unchallenged for nearly 40 years. 

The legislators challenging Otter’s veto wanted the Court to strictly interpret the constitutional provision and give the Governor 10 days from the Legislature’s day of adjournment to act on bills, as opposed to 10 days after presentment. 

The Court overturned the Cenarrusa decision and held that all bills must be presented to the Governor before the Legislature adjourns for the year, which will be a major change as bills have been presented to the Governor after adjournment since 1967.  The Court also held that the 10-day period for the Governor to decide on bills when the Legislature has adjourned for the year begins the date of adjournment, not when the bill is presented to the Governor.  The Court’s ruling applies prospectively, so any bills that have already been passed could not be challenged.

This means that, for the immediate future, the status quo prevails and the sales tax on groceries continues without changes.  AIC is aware of two cities—Sandpoint and Driggs—that have local option retail sales taxes that apply to food that would have been impacted had the Governor’s veto been struck down. 

Revenue sharing funds to cities will likewise see no changes because of the Court’s ruling.  House Bill 67 protected revenue sharing funds and even if the Court had struck down the Governor’s veto, cities’ revenue sharing funds would have been preserved.

However, the issue looms large in the 2018 governor’s race and grocery tax repeal is supported by candidates Lieutenant Governor Brad Little and former emergency room physician and developer Tommy Ahlquist.  It is not clear if 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador supports repeal.  Given the overwhelming support in the Legislature, the issue could gain a lot of traction once a new Governor takes office in January 2019.  

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City Achievement Award Winners Recognized at AIC Annual Conference

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, July 13, 2017

Eleven cities were recognized with City Achievement Awards at the AIC Annual Conference on June 22 at the Annual Banquet at JUMP (Jack’s Urban Meeting Place).

The City Achievement Awards recognize the work of cities around Idaho that have implemented pioneering approaches to improve quality of life, address community challenges, and enhance service delivery in cost-effective ways.

This year, awards were given in six categories: Community Engagement, Economic & Community Development, Parks & Recreation, Public Safety, Public Works & Transportation, and Youth Council.

Ammon was a winner in the Economic & Community Development Category for its Fiber Optic Utility Project, which is bringing broadband to residents throughout the community using an innovative city local improvement district.

Bancroft was a winner in the Parks & Recreation Category for the Lighting of Teuscher Square, which brought the community together for a holiday celebration in the festively decorated square in downtown.

Boise was recognized in the Public Works & Transportation Category for its Dixie Drain Phosphorous Removal Facility, an innovative project that is helping the city meet stringent new phosphorous limits in a cost-effective way and improve water quality in the lower Boise River.  Boise also received an award in the Public Safety Category for its Police Liaison Program, which is helping the department to improve communication and build trust among LGBTQ, Hispanic, African American, and refugee communities.  

Caldwell received an award in the Community Engagement Category for the Downtown Plaza Project, which is an outdoor venue for hosting concerts, movies in the park, festivals and farmers markets, that continues the revitalization of downtown Caldwell.

Coeur d’Alene won an award in the Community Engagement Category for the Lake City Public Library, which is a partnership between the city and school district to open a public library branch at Lake City High School.  Coeur d’Alene also received an award in the Public Safety Category for its Community Action Team, which is partially funded through a federal COPS grant and proactively works with the community on crime prevention, relationship building and problem solving. 

Glenns Ferry Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council was recognized for its alley clean-up project, which brought together youth from the community to clean city alleys of overgrown brush and debris. 

Iona Mayor’s Youth Council won an award for its outstanding work in community service, building youth leadership skills and opening lines of communication between city elected officials and youth. 

Lewiston was a winner in the Public Works & Transportation Category for the Downtown Lewiston Infrastructure Repair & Replacement Project, which replaced a variety of aging infrastructure in downtown Lewiston with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Transit Administration, Port of Lewiston and Lewiston Urban Renewal Agency.

Meridian was recognized in the Economic & Community Development Category for its Idaho Avenue Placemaking Project, a collaborative effort aimed at creating a sense of place that will enhance pedestrian traffic and attract new businesses in downtown Meridian.

Pocatello received an award in the Public Safety Category for its Assisted Living Facility Protocols, which aim to reduce unnecessary 911 calls by providing guidance for assisted living facility staff.

Twin Falls was a winner in the Parks & Recreation Category for the Connecting the Canyon Rim Project, which acquired the final piece of property required to complete the 7.5-mile trail along the scenic Snake River canyon. 

Twin Falls Youth Council was recognized for its Hula Hoop for Health Project, which provided education to 4th and 5th grade students about healthy, active lifestyles, including hula hooping.

Congratulations to all the 2017 City Achievement Award winners!  If your city or youth council has an outstanding project that deserves recognition, we hope you will consider filling out the City Achievement application next year.

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2017 City Candidate Elections: Frequently Asked Questions

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, June 29, 2017

This Q&A covers the basics of the 2017 city candidate elections for both candidates and city clerks.  If you have any questions about the election process, please call the AIC office at (208) 344-8594.

Question: Will AIC be sending an election manual for the 2017 general city election?

Yes, the manual will be completed in the coming weeks and AIC will email the manual and filing forms to all city clerks.  We will also mail one paper copy of the manual to every city clerk.  The manual will also be available for free download on AIC’s members only website, and additional paper copies may be ordered for a fee.

Question: What is required to change the compensation for elected officials?

Ordinances changing the compensation for elected officials must be passed by the council and published at least 75 days prior to any general city election (Thursday, August 24, 2017).  The salary change takes effect January 1 following the election—Idaho Code 50-203.

Question: Are term limits in effect for the 2017 general city elections?

No.  Idaho’s term limits statute was repealed by the 2002 Idaho Legislature.  There are no restrictions on the number of terms city mayors and councilmembers may serve.

Question: Are candidates for mayor or council required to report their campaign contributions and expenditures?  Are campaign contributions limited to a specific dollar amount?

Idaho’s Sunshine Law, which requires reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures by candidates for state and local office and sets dollar limits on contributions, only applies to cities over 5,000 population―Idaho Code 50-420.  There are no requirements for reporting and no contribution limits in cities with less than 5,000 population.  For more information on the requirements of Idaho’s Sunshine Law, see AIC’s Campaign Finance Reporting Manual.

Question: Is the city clerk responsible for publishing any legal notices associated with the 2017 city election?

The only legal notice the city clerk is required to publish is the notice to potential candidates (see Appendix B of the 2017 Election Manual for City Clerks for a model form), which must be published once as a legal notice in the official city newspaper between Friday, August 25 and Friday, September 1, 2017.  The notice must include: the name of the city, the date of the election, the offices up for election, that filing forms are available from the city clerk, and the filing deadline—Idaho Code 50-411.  The notice of election and sample ballot are published by the county clerk.

Question: How does a candidate get their name on the ballot? 

To get their name on the ballot, a candidate must submit a Declaration of Candidacy (see Appendix D in the 2017 Election Manual for City Clerks for a model form) specifying the office and term for which they are running and affirming they meet the following legal qualifications to run as of the date their Declaration of Candidacy is submitted to the city clerk:

•     At least 18 years of age,

•     A U.S. citizen,

•     The candidate’s primary residence must be within the city,

•     The address of the candidate’s voter registration must match the residence address provided on the candidate’s declaration, and

•     The candidate must have resided in the city for at least 30 days prior to submitting their declaration.

The Declaration of Candidacy must be accompanied by one of the following:

•     A Petition of Candidacy (see Appendix E in the 2017 Election Manual for City Clerks for a model form) signed by at least five qualified city electors.  Before filing the petition with the city clerk, the candidate must have the signatures verified by the county clerk, who attaches a certification to the petition indicating the number of signatures that are of qualified city electors.


•     A nonrefundable filing fee of $40—Idaho Code 50-406. 

For the 2017 general city election, candidates are required to submit their Declarations of Candidacy (with the requisite fee/petition) between Monday, August 28 at 8:00 a.m. and Friday, September 8 at 5:00 p.m.—Idaho Code 50-410.

Question: A candidate signed her name as Mildred C. Fisher on the Declaration of Candidacy, but is known as Catherine Fisher.  How will her name appear on the ballot?

The name on the ballot must appear exactly as the name is written on the candidate’s Declaration of Candidacy.  The city clerk should advise candidates that how their name is written on the declaration is how their name will appear on the ballot.  If the candidate has a nickname, then it should be in quotes between their first and last names: James “Scooter” Johnson.

Question: Can a candidate sign his or her own Petition of Candidacy?

Yes.  There is nothing in the law that prohibits a candidate from signing their own Petition of Candidacy.

Question: Is the city clerk required to check the signatures on a Petition of Candidacy against the signatures on the voter registration cards?

No.  Petition signatures must be verified by the county clerk before the petition is submitted to the city clerk.  The county clerk will attach a certificate to the petition indicating the number of signatures that are of qualified city electors—Idaho Code 50-410. 

Question: May a registered city voter sign petitions for two candidates running for mayor?

Yes.  The law no longer requires a person to sign only one candidate’s petition for each office up for election.  Now, a registered city voter is free to sign as many petitions as they want.

Question: Must the city clerk notarize a candidate’s declaration and/or petition, or can the candidate have it notarized elsewhere?

Any notary duly authorized by the State of Idaho can notarize a candidate’s declaration and petition. 

Question: Is there a deadline for candidates to withdraw from the election? 

Nominated candidates (those listed on the ballot) have until Friday, September 22 to withdraw from the election by filing a notarized statement of withdrawal with the city clerk (see Appendix G in the 2017 Election Manual for City Clerks for a model form)—Idaho Code 34-1405A. 

Declared write-in candidates may withdraw at any time up to the election by filing a notarized statement of withdrawal with the city clerk (see Appendix G for a model form).

Question: Which council positions will be up for election to two-year terms?  

Idaho Code 50-704 provides that councilmember vacancies “shall be filled by appointment made by the mayor with the consent of the council, which appointee shall serve only until the next general city election [held in November of each odd-numbered year], at which such vacancy shall be filled for the balance of the original term.”  

An appointed councilmember serves until the next general city election in November of an odd-numbered year, at which point:

•     If the normal four-year term of office concludes at the end of December of that year, the position is up for election to a four-year term.

•     If the normal four-year term of office has two years remaining at the end of December of that year, the position is up for election to the remaining two years of the term.  At the end of the two-year term, the position is up for election to a four-year term.

Two-year terms ensure that the city stays on cycle with half of the council positions up for election to four-year terms at the general city election in November of each odd-numbered year—Idaho Code 50-701. 

In the November 7, 2017 general city election the only council positions up for election to two-year terms are those filled by appointment in 2016 or 2017, which have a four-year term of office expiring December 31, 2019.    

For example, John Smith was appointed on May 5, 2017 to fill a vacant position on the city council that has a term of office expiring December 31, 2019.  This position will be up for election on November 7, 2017 for a two-year term.  Mr. Smith may choose to run for the two-year term, or may choose to run for another office, including a four-year council position or mayor.  Regardless of who is elected, the position will be up for election again in November 2019 for a four-year term. 

If Mr. Smith were appointed on May 5, 2017 to fill a vacancy on the city council with a term of office expiring December 31, 2017, the position would be up for election at the November 7, 2017 general city election for a four-year term.

Question: Our mayor was appointed since the last election.  Is the office up for election this year, and if so, is it for a two or four-year term?

Idaho Code 50-608 provides that “When a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor by reason of death, resignation or permanent disability, the city council shall fill the vacancy from within or without the council as may be deemed in the best interests of the city, which appointee shall serve until the next general city election, at which election a mayor shall be elected for the full four (4) year term.” 

If a person was appointed mayor in 2016 or 2017, the office is up for election at the 2017 general city elections for a four-year term of office. 

Question: What is the deadline for write-in candidates to file?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 is the deadline for write-in candidates to file their Declaration of Intent with the city clerk indicating the office and term for which they are running and affirming their qualifications to hold the office, if elected.

Write-in votes are only counted when cast for a person who has filed a Declaration of Intent with the city clerk at least 28 days prior to the election.

Write-in candidates are only required to file the Declaration of Intent with the city clerk—they are NOT required to submit a petition or $40 fee.  

See Appendix F of the 2017 Election Manual for City Clerks for a model Declaration of Intent for write-in candidates.

Write-in candidates are required to meet the following qualifications as of the date their Declaration of Intent is submitted to the city clerk: 

·         At least 18 years of age,

·         A U.S. citizen,  

·         The candidate’s primary residence must be in the city, 

·         The candidate must be registered to vote, and the address of the candidate’s voter registration must match the residence address provided on the candidate’s declaration, and 

·         The candidate must have resided in the city for at least 30 days prior to submitting their declaration.

Question: Can candidates campaign on Election Day?

Candidates can campaign on Election Day—however, candidates should be aware that campaigning within or near a polling place on Election Day (known as “electioneering”) is a criminal offense.  On Election Day, campaigning or distributing candidate materials within the polling place or in any building in which an election is being held are prohibited.  Campaigning or distributing candidate materials are also prohibited within 100 feet of a polling place, whether on public or private property—Idaho Code 18-2318.  It is also important to remember that the prohibition on electioneering applies while voting is occurring at the in-person absentee polling place or early voting facility.

Question: Our city does not have enough candidates for the council positions up for election.  What should we do?

If there are not enough nominated and declared write-in candidates for the council positions up for election, then the vacancies are filled by mayoral appointment and confirmation by a majority of the council.  This can be done at the first council meeting in January, assuming there are enough councilmembers to constitute a quorum (a majority of the full council).  If not, then the Governor will appoint as many councilmembers as required to constitute a quorum (Idaho Code 59-912) and the remaining vacancies are filled by the normal process of appointment and confirmation.

Question: Can a bar sell liquor by the drink on Election Day?  Can liquor stores be open on Election Day?

Bars can sell liquor by the drink during city elections unless the city has an ordinance prohibiting the sale of liquor by the drink during city elections—Idaho Code 23-927. 

State liquor stores and contract liquor stores are allowed to be open and sell package liquor on Election Day—Idaho Code 23-307.

Question: Who canvasses the votes from a city election: the city council or the county commissioners?

The county commissioners will canvass the results of all city elections within 10 days after the election—Idaho Code 50-412.  At a council meeting in late November or December 2017, the council must approve a motion to formally accept the canvassed election results, and the canvassed election results are then included in the meeting minutes (with the results by precinct, if the city has multiple precincts).

Question: A currently serving councilmember wants to run for mayor at this year’s election.  The councilmember’s position is not up for election until November 2019.  Must the person resign from their council position to run for mayor?

No, the councilmember is not required to resign from the council to run for mayor.

Question: Can a person file more than one Declaration of Candidacy and run for multiple offices at the same election?

No.  Idaho Code 50-410 provides that “A person shall not be permitted to file a declaration of candidacy for more than one (1) office in any city election.”

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Total Solar Eclipse Emergency Planning Workshops

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 5, 2017

The Idaho Office of Emergency Management (IOEM) is offering emergency operations planning opportunities related to the upcoming solar eclipse. IOEM has scheduled a series of workshops to help communities prepare to deal with any incidents that may arise from the large number of visitors the eclipse event is predicted to draw into Idaho.

The workshops are designed to help communities recognize and plan for the most likely issues they may face when a large event like this happens. In addition to IOEM, representatives from the Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho State Police, US Forest Service, and local Public Health Districts will be available to discuss their planning efforts and what impacts they are expecting.

Community leaders, emergency management personnel, and first responders are all encouraged to attend. Workshop dates and locations are as follows:

June 20 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
343 E Street
Idaho Falls


June 21 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
The Community Campus - Minnie Moore Room
1050 Fox Acres Rd
Hailey, ID 83333


June 22 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Crouch Community Hall
342 Village Circle
Garden Valley, ID 83622


Please contact Jesse Cole at (208) 258-6591 or with any questions or to RSVP

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June 15 Deadline for Round 2 Emergency Relief Fund Applications

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 1, 2017

The deadline for submitting project applications for the second round of funding from the Emergency Relief Fund is quickly approaching. All applications for Round 2 need to be submitted no later than midnight June 15, 2017. You can access the original launch letter announcing the Emergency Relief Fund by clicking this link ( 

IOEM received 180 applications with a total of nearly $32 million in requested funds for Round 1, application scoring is in the final stages.  The ERF Panel will meet next week for final review and to award funds. Once this process is complete and all applicants have been notified, any eligible applications that did not get funded during Round 1 will be automatically moved to round 2 for reconsideration.  Any applications that the scorers deemed short of necessary information will be returned to the applicant to allow project applications to be updated and resubmitted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do I keep getting an error screen when I am trying to submit my application on the website?

A. In many cases, this happens when you are trying to submit a large amount of attachments with your application. Although there is no size limit to what you can attach, different users may get different results depending on which browser version they are using and how good their connection is. The best work around we have found is to email your attachments separately (please note jurisdiction and project name) to and they will be attached to your application.

Q. Can I apply for ERF even if my county did not file a local disaster declaration?

A. Yes, however, those applications will have less priority than applicants that did have a declaration.

Q. If my project is eligible for funding under a federal disaster declaration am I still eligible for funding from ERF?

A. Yes, projects eligible for funding under an approved federal disaster declaration will be first priority for ERF funding.

Q. Do I still have to apply for funding from the emergency relief fund if I have already applied for assistance from FEMA under a federal disaster declaration?

A. Yes, the funding from ERF is separate from any federal grant money and will need to be applied for separately.

Q.  My jurisdiction is under a federal disaster declaration, will I still have a cost share?

A.  Whether under a federal disaster declaration or not, the cost share to the local jurisdictions will always be 10%

Q. Do cities need to file an application separate from the county, or does the county need to include the cities in their application?

A. Cities, counties, local highway districts, etc. are all eligible to apply. Whoever is legally responsible for repair and upkeep of the road/bridge should be the applicant.

Q. Can I still apply for this funding if my project meets the criteria but work has already been completed?

A. Yes, as long as work can be justified with documentation.

Q. If my project was denied in the first or second round, can I make updates to my application to correct any errors that may have affected my score and resubmit?

A. Yes, applications can be updated and re-submitted as needed.

Q. Does the application have to come from an emergency management office, or can it come directly from a public works office?

A. The application should be completed by whoever is legally responsible for the project.

Q. Is there a deadline for use of funds once they have been awarded?

A. ERF funding will follow PAPPG guidelines for completion of permanent work, which is 18 months from the date of declaration.  The state will have authority under these guidelines to grant extensions due to extraordinary circumstances.

Q. Will it be possible to get additional funding after a project has been awarded funding from ERF if damages and cost of project are found to be more than initially estimated on the application?

A. Applicant will need to submit an amended application to address and identify the increased scope and cost of the project for re-consideration of increased funding. This will not change what has already been awarded, however, there is no guarantee of additional funding.

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Join us for the 70th AIC Annual Conference June 21-23 in Boise

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 23, 2017

On behalf of the AIC Board of Directors, AIC invites you to attend AIC’s upcoming Annual Conference June 21-23 at the Boise Centre. Please join us and approximately 400 city officials and partners from across the state as we explore current challenges and opportunities facing Idaho’s 200 cities.

The AIC Annual Conference is structured to provide a mix of general sessions, concurrent workshops, hot topic policy discussions, roundtables, mobile tours, and social events on timely topics designed to address current needs of Idaho cities.

Registration information can be found on the AIC website at the following location:

Early bird registration is $295.00. Please be sure to take advantage of the early bird pricing prior to May 31, 2017 as registration prices increase on June 1st.

A conference brochure, including a list of conference general sessions, workshops, roundtables, and tours can be found at: 

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